£10k cash boost for Olympic Gymnasium

THE campaign to finance the extension to Huntingdon Olympic Gymnasium has been given a £10,000 cash boost by one of the town s supermarkets. Waitrose in Huntingdon has donated the money which will help pay for an extension to the overcrowded facility in C

THE campaign to finance the extension to Huntingdon Olympic Gymnasium has been given a £10,000 cash boost by one of the town's supermarkets.

Waitrose in Huntingdon has donated the money which will help pay for an extension to the overcrowded facility in Clayton's Way.

The grant means the Huntingdon store has given a total of £33,000 to charity in the past three years, since Tim Cobley has been manager.

The money also pushes the gym's total fundraising efforts to just over £300,000. Its target is £4million.


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Fundraising officer Helen Bennett said: "We are delighted to receive the donation from Waitrose and warmly thank them for their support.

"We are working hard to raise as much funding as possible to ensure the building work can start on time."

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Mr Cobley, who is leaving the Huntingdon branch next month to lead the St Neots store, told The Hunts Post: "I have a marketing budget to make use of each year and opt to spend it on the local community. This is on top of other charity grants and requests from good causes for £10 vouchers or food and drink for functions."

Currently top gymnasts, such as Commonwealth gold medallist Louis Smith, fight for gym space and time alongside members from the community. The extension would provide the elite gymnasts with additional space.

The Huntingdon Freemen's Group has pledged £50,000 to the project with £250,000 already donated by Sport England - with the likelihood of a further £250,000 to follow.

Waitrose staff were treated to special performances by Louis and other athletes from the gym last week.

Meanwhile, the gym has appointed Karen Phillips as the new fundraising officer solely to deal with filing applications to grant-making bodies. She will also make an application to the National Lottery Fund, which could attract up to £500,000.

Work on the new facility is expected to start this summer and it is hoped the extension will be opened by the end of 2008.

INFORMATION: Huntingdon Olympic Gym Club has appealed for businesses to donate colour photocopying and a digital camera to aid the fundraising effort. Contact the gym on 01480 52343.

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